Drilling an Aluminum Pipe

Aluminum is a versatile material and it is commonly used in almost in every industry as well as in your household. Aluminum is made out of a light material, abundant and binds very well with oxygen, plus it is found normally in medicines, packaging, home buildings, cars, trains and airplanes. That is why the spacecraft that were sent to the outer space were able to do so because it uses a strong and light outer material made of aluminum. In order for you to drill into aluminum, you need to have lots of practice and also use a few tools that you will know right after you’re done here.

What you need to do:

  1. Aluminum pipe
  2. Marker
  3. Clamp vise
  4. Power drill
  5. Drill bit
  6. Dish washing liquid
  7. Step drill bit

Aluminum Pipe


  1. The first step that you need to do is to mark the area of aluminum pipe that you want to drill. Make sure to mark it in a clear and visible way so that it will be easy for you to do the drilling task. Always use a marker pen, which has the visibility especially on the aluminum.
  2. Then, you need to set the aluminum pipe in a secure place, for example a clamp vise so that it would be able to hold the aluminum pipe. You must ensure that the mark you make earlier is easily accessible and is not covered by the clamp vise.
  3. Next, you need to take your power drill and fit it with a bit, which is just smaller than the tip of the step bit that you have decided to use for drilling the aluminum pipe. By using this bit, it will enable you to make a starter hole for the step.
  4. After that, you can take some dish washing liquid and rub it on the mark on the aluminum pipe that you have made earlier in order to lubricate it. Make sure to apply more liquid to the end of the bit.
  5. Take your drill and start to drill into the aluminum pipe at the mark that you have made right until the bit managed to exit to the other side of the aluminum pipe. If your plan is to only drill through one wall of the aluminum pipe, you must automatically stop drilling it once you have managed to get through the wall of the pipe.
  6. Then, you must switch out the regular bit in order to use the step bit that you have decided to use. Ensure that you apply dish soap to your entire bit and also put on more soap on the aluminum pipe around the edges of your drilled starter hole.
  7. Finally, you need to place the tip of the step bit into your starter hole and drill through the hole until you have managed to widen it accordingly. Try to use low level speed and this task requires lots of patience as you wait for the bit to work through your aluminum pipe.

Image Credit:

Flickr CC

Additional Reading:

Aluminum By Design

Handbook of Aluminum: Volume 2: Alloy Production and Materials Manufacturing